The Intimacy of Hands: By Alisa Haughton

Our hands are one of the most expressive parts of the body and knowing how to photograph hands can add a human, relatable element to our images. Drawn by a lifetime of use, our hands are a living testimony of our lives. There is a story in every crease that traces its way to our mother’s womb, a lament in every callous and an anecdote in every bruise, they’ve held on and they’ve let go. Our hands have toiled and cared for people, they admonish and have been used to draw people closer to being loved. They convey exasperation, they are used for sign language when speaking to the deaf and at events, our hands have won debates, wiped tears, wiped sweat, and applauded those that we admirers.

Hands are one of the most difficult body parts to capture because they move fast, and writers know that when writing our hands and fingers have a personal relationship with our brain and are suddenly the only vessel of expression available for communication. We feel ourselves and others with our hands. We touch and let people connect different areas of our bodies depending on our relationship. Our social status and profession can be derived from our hands, primarily because we use our hands for nearly every action in everyday life and seldom do we notice the magnitude of what our hands accomplish. Hands in photography lead to a visual mystery. In hand photography, there is less room for preconceived notions and the autonomy of a hand portrait is more intriguing because it asks more questions.

Hello Alisa Haughton and welcome to Random Photo Journal! Briefly introduce yourself, What do you do and what got you started on your photography journey?

Hello, my name is Alisa Haughton, I am an event, portrait and travel photographer, author, comedic content producer and creator.  I fell in love with photography in 2010 when I took a digital photography class in college. I remember the day I received my Nikon DSLR from my Professor, I was super excited to capture EVERYTHING…and that I did. I realized from that day on, that there was beauty everywhere if I took the time to notice. 

What was your purpose or intention for visiting Jamaica? Friends or family or you went for tourist reasons?

My purpose for visiting Jamaica was more of a personal spiritual retreat as well as spending time with my Mom, Granny and family. I stayed in Jamaica for 1 month and it was absolutely amazing! 

What is your affinity with the human hands, and why does it take space in your photography work? 

I think our hands are powerful. We use them every day. To cook, to create, to work, to care, to love, to eat and so much more. In my work, you will find an image of my grandmother’s hands as she was scraping coconut. Her hands tell a story, 94 years worth of stories in her hands. 

What does food photography mean to you and does this have any affiliation with your affinity for photographing hands?

The food is amazing. It’s such a blessing to experience different cultures through food, especially for Black people. We show love through food and we cook with intention. I wanted to capture the culture of Jamaica, whether it was food from a restaurant or picking mangoes from a tree, it shows how intentional God was in creating it and allowing us to enjoy it. Food is a necessity and a pleasure all in one. 

How long have you been photographing?

I’ve been a photographer for about 15 years and I don’t think I will ever stop. 

Are there other photographers whose work you enjoy and draw inspiration from?  

There are so many images that I come across on the internet and fall in love with but I would say Joshua Kissi is one of my favourite visual artists/photographers.

In your opinion, what makes an image good?

I feel like a good image should take you on a journey, it should captivate your soul in a way.  I love when people see my travel images and they say ” I felt like I was there with you”.  That makes me feel like my mission was accomplished as a photographer. It’s not always about the fancy cameras but about your eye and your heart.